Background Info: Island in the Sun is an idea i've had that hasn't amounted to anything yet. I am not sure if I should continue to pursue the idea of this one, so any comments/suggestions/opinions would be appreciated. Name: Matt Callaghan Setting: Pacific Island, World War II Genre: Historical Fiction Island in the Sun Prologue “May-day! May-day! This is Red Robin, we’re going down!” The Radio Man was beginning to sound a little desperate. There was still no response. The co-pilot was rapidly trying to figure out where they were while Captain Connor O’Fearghail wrestled with the flight stick. With one engine on fire, they were steadily losing altitude and power. The gamble of flying through a cloud bank had not paid off. Not only had they flown off course, but the Zero had managed to track them. He hadn’t noticed it until it made its first attacking run, appearing out of the sun. It had caught him by surprise – at first he had thought it was a Mustang come to check them out. That initial thought had quickly changed into fear when he noticed its distinctive shape and markings. What a lone Zero was doing out here was beyond him, but a Zero it was. He had played dummy until the last second, sharply banking to the right and down into a cloud bank. It had been enough to avoid the Zero, but a Dakota was a notoriously hard plane to maneuver. He had cringed when he heard the moans from the wounded soldiers he was transporting in the back, but if he didn’t avoid the bullets from the Zero, it wouldn’t matter how comfortable they were. He had flown for a few minutes through the cloud bank before rising up again. But the Zero had been circling over head, and this time made no mistake. Bullets chewed through the tail fin and then the right wing, tearing up the engine which sputtered and burst into flame. The Zero had backed off then, knowing that the Dakota would crash and burn somewhere in the pacific. It would conserve its ammo and fuel for the flight back to wherever it had come from. The Dakota would crash and burn into the ocean. And that was exactly what was about to happen. A speck of land rose up out of the ocean to meet the descending, smoking plane. It was a large island, with what was either a mountain or volcano rising up on one half of the island. It was covered by Jungle and there really was no good place to put the plane down – not that he would have much say in the matter anyways, the lumbering Dakota being all but controllable. “Brace for impact!” He shouted through the open door into the fuselage. Many of the wounded soldiers wouldn’t make it, even if they did survive. The nurses and the few soldiers returning home for leave used what they could to brace themselves, faces looking grim as they contemplated their fate. Connor felt like his arms were about to break as he tried to keep the plane as level as he could. He shut off the other engine, hoping it would prevent them from exploding into a fiery ball of death on impact. He strapped himself in, too, as the ground began to rise up even faster. It was the best he could do, steering the plane into a valley between two hills, the sound of tree tops snapping as the bottom of the plane came in contact with them, shortly followed by a jarring tug on the plane, sheet metal ripping. He closed his eyes as the view turned green, shortly before darkness swept over him. Chapter 1 Crash Landing Connor groaned. His head felt like it was about to explode - if it hadn't already! He was slumped over the instrument panel of the plane with something wet covering one of his eyes. He sat up, sitting back in his chair as he assessed his own injuries. His chest hurt from where he had most likely slammed into the yoke. He winced as he took in a deep breath. Pressing his hand to the burning sensation on his forehead revealed that he was cut and bleeding as he examined his hand. That explained why he couldn't open his eye! He wiped away some of the caked blood and was able to crack open his eye. A cursory look around showed that the windshield was completely smashed in and the nose of the plane was buried in vines and other jungle vegetation. Turning to his right, he saw Peter - his copilot - staring back at him. The glazed look of his eyes and the unnatural angle of his neck told him that Peter was dead. He swallowed down the bile that threatened to travel up his throat and quickly un-clipped himself from the seat. His head swam as he rose to his feet, grabbing onto the backs of both chairs to steady himself as he readjusted to the sudden movement. The flight navigator and radio operator was still strapped into his seat and was a bit groggy having also suffered a bang to his head. "Sir, give me a hand, can't use my arm." He said softly, turning his head to look at Connor. "I think I messed up when we was getting banged around." "Of course, Simon." Connor reached over his shoulder to unclasp the buckle of his belt, helping Simon out of it. A quick look at his shoulder gave him the sense that it must be dislocated, given how it was hanging limply. Connor had dislocated his shoulder once and knew that Simon would be in a lot of pain. He'd have to get one of the nurses to reset it and fashion a sling for Simon. "Where...where's Pete?" Simon asks, looking over his shoulder into the cockpit. "He...he, uh, didn't make it." Connor responds, moving into the body of the fuselage...or what was left of it. He stood there, motionless, for a few moments as he took it all in. The R4D had broken in half just behind the wings. He was staring down part of the fuselage, then out its shorn off end. The tail of the plane he could see, perhaps 50 yards further back in the Jungle. The ground between the two halves was churned up with broken trees and parts of the plane. "God damn..." he murmured, breaking his trance and helping Simon over to the bench to sit down. One of the nurses also sat there, her leg in a splint. Another nurse was putting a fresh bandage on one of the wounded soldiers who still remained on his stretcher. There was no sign of the third nurse, the several other patients, or the five soldiers that had been on board. "...damn it all." He swallowed down the horror. "Nurse, Simon needs his shoulder reset when you get a moment." He calls out to the one attending the patient. "Captain, let me see that cut on your face." The other nurse, with the broken leg, says, motioning for him to come sit beside her. Reluctantly, he moved over to her and sat down, letting out a soft sigh. "I'm Mary." "Nice to meet you Mary, I'm Connor O'Fearghail. Sorry about this mess...it couldn't be helped." He responds, wincing as she prods the edges of the cut with her fingers. "Oh, don't go about making excuses. We should be thanking you for saving our lives. We'd all be dead if you weren't such a good pilot. Now, this might sting..." She dabbed at the cut with a cloth that had been soaked in alcohol, then wrapped a bandage around his head. He clenched his teeth but otherwise didn't make a noise. "There we go." "Thanks. What happened to the...others?" He was interrupted by a yell as the other Nurse, Susie, yanked on Simons arm as she pressed into his shoulder, popping it back into place. "The soldiers and Kate? Oh, they're all fine. A little banged up but they went to see if any one else made it." Her face paled at the thought of what had happened as the plane had crashed. "Oh. Hm. I suppose I should see if I can get the radio working. I'm not sure if anyone heard our Mayday and I never had time to give out our last position." "Sure, I'll still be here when you get back." She gave him a weak smile. Connor moved back to the Radio Operators compartment. The radio was working, but he only got static as he tried the usual channels. Knowing that there were ship spotters scattered on islands through out the pacific, he decided to turn the dials and see if he could pick any of them up. "Hello? Hello? Can anybody here? Over." He speaks into the microphone. Something that sounds like some one speaking cackles over the static. "Hello? Anybody there? This is Red Robin, we have crashed. Over." He tries to discern the response, the cackle of the static rendering it nearly impossible to make out what was being said. "Konni - - - - ichiwa?" Came through on the radio. Connor's face paled and he quickly shut the set off. The Japanese! That wasn't good at all...especially if they had picked up on the signal and could locate them. He hung the microphone up and moved back into the body of the plane. "Well, I think we're on our own out here. Radio isn't picking anything up but static. Any sign of those soldiers?" "They're probably scouting out the perimeter and searching for anyone who might have been thrown from the...plane." Mary responds, shifting herself into a more comfortable position. Peter was slouched against the side of the plane, his arm in a sling, eyes closed fast asleep. "He's fine, just exhausted. I think he's a little more battered then he's letting on." Susie, the other nurse, spoke up, noticing where Connor was looking. "I'm Susie, by the way. You must be Captain O'Fearghail." She walked over, extending her hand for him to shake. "Nice to meet you too, Susie. How...how many of the wounded survived?" She frowned, looking down at the ground. "Just the one, so far. He might not make it either, if we stay here long. The jungle is a cesspool of disease, and his wounds could get infected. The others...well, they weren't so lucky when we landed." She shook her head, fighting back the tears. "There was nothing we could do...I think I blacked out for a few moments too. The fact that Kate hasn't returned with the soldiers means that they haven't found any survivors." Connor slowly nodded his head, reaching out an arm to rub her back. "Its ok...there's not much we can do until we get rescued anyways. We should probably take inventory on what few supplies we have...i'm sure there are plenty of fruit trees around too. It looked like a pretty big island from above." ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- "No one was looking out the window when we were headed down?" Sgt. Cooley said, sweat on the brow of his forehead, a Thomson resting against his hip as he faced the five soldiers and nurse who accompanied him. "No Sarge, I was more concerned with kissing my ass goodbye then taking in the scenery." A burly soldier responded, a lump had formed on the side of his head where he had banged it against something during the crash. The nurse had said it was fine, to ice it if he could (right! so much ice on a tropical island!) but otherwise he might have a headache. "Don't me a smart ass, Alex. The fuck if any of us know the lay of the land, who controls the island, or if there is anyone on the island. Which means Sarge here is going to want us to scout it out, make observations, and figure a way off this island if there ain't anyone on it!" One of the other soldiers piped in, his M1 Garand Rifle slung over his shoulder as he pulled a Lucky Strike out of his breast pocket. "Keep it down you two." Sgt. Cooley responded. "No point getting at each others throat." He turned to look at the nurse who was crouched over a body. "Nurse, whats the verdict?" "Dead, like the others. Snapped neck did him in, I think. Or blood loss from his arm being torn off. Pick your poison." She said, rising from where she had crouched over the body. "Thats the last of them, at any rate. We should head back, see if the Pilots are awake yet." She looked up at the sky. "Might want to think about settling in for the night since we aren't going to be getting anywhere any time fast." "Aren't you the optimistic one..." Alex mutters, kicking at a piece of metal. "Alex and Simpson, since you two are best buddies," the sarcasm wasn't left out as Sgt. Cooley spoke, "you two can escort Nurse Julie back to the plane and update the Pilot on the situation. The rest of you, you're coming with me. We're going to walk the perimeter, see what there is to see, and mark anything of note down. Don't want to be caught with our pants down, after all. Don't want any Nips hitting us in the dark because we didn't think to look for them first."